Guest Pastor-Barbara Bowyer

We were so fortunate to welcome guest pastor, Barbara Bowyer, from Second Presbyterian Church in the Central West End in St. Louis, MO.  A video of her sermon is available on our YouTube channel.

"Second Presbyterian is an inclusive, progressive church in St. Louis’ Central West End, dedicated to serving others & changing lives. Whether you are looking for a new church home or just curious about what Second has to offer, our doors are open to you!"

Video Transcript

good day friends
how i wish i could have joined you in
person
for the morning service at first
presbyterian ferguson
unfortunately my garage door decided to
malfunction
no doubt due to the frigid temperatures
were having in st
louis so my car was stuck in the garage
and i was stuck at home but as jan noted
you always have a plan b and for me that
means recording this message
and making it available on the church
facebook page
mike has taken a well-deserved sunday
off and asked me to fill in for him
an opportunity i gladly accepted
for those of you whom i have not yet met
i am barbara boyer
a ruling elder at second presbyterian
church
st louis by way of background
my initial introduction to first prez
ferguson
came in october 2018 when i began a
six-month
internship as part of the commission
pastors program
offered by the presbytery
first prez you will always have a warm
spot in my heart for your support before
during and after that internship
before beginning the service i would
like to offer my belated congratulations
on the 150th anniversary of first in
ferguson
what a milestone and what a testimony to
the faithfulness
of this congregation across the
generations
i pray that you enjoy many more decades
of sharing the love of christ
with each other and with your community
blessings to all of you it is good to be
with you once again
this morning’s meditation comes to us
from howard thurman
an african-american theologian educator
and civil rights leader a prominent
religious figure he played a leading
role
in many social justice movements and
organizations
of the 20th century thurman’s
theology of radical non-violence
influenced
and shaped a generation as civil rights
activists
and he was a key mentor to leaders
within the civil rights movement
including the reverend dr martin luther
king jr
the following meditation take no thought
for your life
is from thurman’s meditations of the
heart
first published in 1953.
he writes take
no thought this day i shall desert
my anxieties i shall forsake them
cut them off from the food supply of my
spirit
confident am i that if i do not
feed them they cannot long survive
i shall seek to limit my primary
exposure
to those who exploit my anxieties by
their tendency to exaggeration
and alarm i shall seek to broaden my
exposure to those whose lives give forth
confidence
and calmness into god’s hand
do i yield myself this day with all that
it involves for me
with the faith that i can take complete
refuge in the knowledge
and the love of god for me this will not
be easy
nor do i lightly undertake it take
no thought for your life what a strange
thing it is
this injunction up to this period
of my life i have seemed to survive by
taking thought for my life
upon deeper reflection i begin to see
that my life is not now nor has it ever
been
my own i did not create nor have i
sustained my life
through the years in so many ways
without my own plans and purposes
hard places have been made soft and
rough places smooth
it is a source of immeasurable
satisfaction
and comfort to me to know that god
who is the source and sustainer of life
can be trusted to see me all the way to
the end
and beyond take no thought for your life
it is in god’s hands and ever when i am
obeying the laws of life
it is god who works through me take
no thought for your life amen
valentine’s day president’s day
that tuesday chinese new year
these are just some of the many ways we
celebrate this month
there’s also national don’t cry over
spilled milk day
national tortellini day ice cream for
breakfast day
and national homemade soup day to name
but a few
but there’s one day in february that
seems especially germane to today’s
bible passages
national signing day which occurs on the
first
wednesday in february that’s the day
when a high school football recruit can
commit to the college of his choice
over the years this day has become an
even grander affair
with some of the most talented players
announcing their decisions
in front of television cameras and their
entire school
that day is the culmination of months
or years of the building of
relationships between college coaches
and high school players and their
coaches recruits visit college campuses
and meet with the coaches
coaches call athletes visit with them in
their homes to meet their parents
and study film trying to spot the
athletes
that will ensure their program’s victory
on saturday afternoons
it’s a long process which makes today’s
story of jesus calling his disciples
even more remarkable listen again
to the story from mark 1. as
jesus walked beside the sea of galilee
he saw simon and his brother andrew
casting a net
into the lake for they were fishermen
come follow me jesus said and i will
send you out
to fish for people at once they left
their nets
and followed him and from matthew 4
going on from there he saw two other
brothers
james son of zebedee and his brother
john
they were in a boat with their father
zebedee preparing their nets
jesus called them and immediately they
left the boat
and their father and followed him
where’s the long recruiting pitch and
the tour of the campus
the meetings between potential recruit
and
coach jesus how can jesus study game
film
when these men had never played a minute
as a disciple
was this national signing day even
written about
in the galilee gazette just what was it
that jesus saw in these first disciples
and why fishermen of all people
surely there were other men of more
educated professions than fishermen in
that area
lawyers merchants politicians
yet he chose fishermen many of us might
think that jesus would have selected the
brightest minds of the synagogues to be
his disciples
however that wasn’t the case he turned
away from the synagogue
he walked down to the beach he walked
down to where the people were
and where they were working hard he went
to the blue collar people
and he showed them that we don’t have to
be smart
we don’t have to be rich we must simply
decide to answer the call
and sign on to a life devoted to jesus
but what traits did these fishermen
possess that made jesus decide
they were fitting for discipleship
a reliance on god’s providence was
central
to christ’s decision no doubt but i
would offer there were other
characteristics of fishermen
that made them ideal disciples what were
those traits
and how might they apply to each of us
first fishing requires a great deal of
patience
and dedication fishermen might go
hours perhaps days without even a nibble
giving up is not an option if one is to
sustain his livelihood
a fisherman’s dedication pushes him to
keep
fishing fishermen must also be patient
sometimes they spend hours catching
nothing
a fisherman realizes that the amount of
work and preparation he puts into
making his catch does not always match
up to what he brings in
likewise we often fish for souls for
long periods of time
and leave having only baited the hook
a second characteristic that no doubt
jesus saw in the fishermen
those who fish for a living are
courageous
fishing can require a person to travel
into deep
and treacherous waters in fact it was
common in jesus day
for fishermen to be caught in fierce
storms while on the open sea
it was their courage which pushed them
to go back into the water after
experiencing
one of these storms vincent van gogh
observed the fishermen know that the sea
is dangerous
and the storm terrible but they have
never found these dangers
sufficient reason for remaining ashore
believers need such courage when
witnessing and need to be willing to
step
out of their comfort zones and go back
in to the deep waves
there are any number of circumstances
that could us with fear
but we must continue the journey of life
this
takes courage and jesus knew
that what the journey he was about to
take with these
disciples would require tremendous
courage next a successful fisherman
needs to be in tune to all the
happenings of the weather
fishermen are experts in knowing the
temperature
wind and water because of this
attentiveness they learn
and develop techniques that enable them
to make their catch of the day
alert and skillful they are always ready
to set the hook
just as we should be ready with an
answer for those we are trying
to hook for christ finally
fishermen understand what it means to
rely on god
leslie leyland fields a writer
editor and national speaker who has a
background in commercial fishing
notes quote fishermen are like farmers
they’re completely dependent on the
providence of god
we can buy the best nets that we can
find we can keep them mended we can know
where to put our nets
we can have all this human knowledge but
unless god sends the fish
we’re not going to catch anything so
every time we throw our nets into the
water
and every time the disciples threw their
nets in the water
it’s kind of like a prayer it’s like
saying
give us this day our daily bread it’s a
supplication to god
lord feed us
the call story ordinary men called to
live
extraordinary lives because jesus saw in
them
what they could not see in themselves
courage dedication perseverance
as we read in the story the men are
working they are living out their lives
as fishermen
providing food for their community and
families the work is necessary and
useful
but god’s call changes all that he comes
to them and says
follow me i won’t make you better
fisherman
instead i’ll give you a new purpose you
will serve my
kingdom and you will fish for people he
calls them to be his disciples
he does no less to each of us
so how are we called to be fishers of
people being fishers a people is to
share the gospel with friends
neighbors and strangers and pray they
answer the call while being patient
rarely does acceptance of christ’s call
happen as though a lightning bolt from
heaven
rather occurs over the course of months
or years
that was certainly the case for me i
grew up unchurched
but was blessed to meet many fishers of
people who modeled the love
of god it was through their collective
discipleship
that i came to know christ i will admit
being fishers of people is easier with
those whom we share an ongoing
relationship
but being fishers a people is also being
willing to build bridges
with those with whom we disagree being
fishers of people is lifting up those
who have been marginalized
and being aware of our own prejudices
being fishers of people is seeking
reconciliation
there is currently anger or distrust
these things are not easy if it were our
nation
and our world wouldn’t be so divided
there wouldn’t be so much fear
there wouldn’t be so much hatred to be
fishers of people
is a difficult calling it is a calling
to seek relationships with jesus
and with others and it is a calling to
begin to see jesus
in others and perhaps that is where we
must start
to work on the relationships closest to
us and to work
on our relationship with christ as we
get to know him better and discover how
he interacted with
with and related to the people around
him we can emulate these types of
relationships
in our own lives it takes an effort but
it is worth it
like simon and andrew like james and
john
we are called to be fishers or people
god has chosen
each one of us to serve one another
uncertainty
and doubt are sure to enter but at such
times
we would be well to remember the words
of howard thurman
take no thought for your life it is in
god’s hands and ever when i’m obeying
the laws of life
it is god who works through me
take no thought for your life
may it be true for each of us this day
amen
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